Elam flips on Florida; Tech-bound Ayers excels at Under Armor

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — I just came in from covering the second day of practices for the Under Armour All-America Game and the media luncheon and interview opportunities that followed. The Burger King Skills Challenges, which can be seen on ESPNU, are going on right now but I needed to get some writing done.

Going forward I will have separate blogs on several of the individuals I’ve interviewed while here at the Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In the meantime I wanted to hit some of today’s high points here for you loyal and frequent visitors of the AJC College Recruiting Blog:

  • The big recruiting news today was longtime Florida commitment and five-star safety Matt Elam switching on the Gators to pick Florida State. The way I found out was I overheard Port St. Lucie, Fla., linebacker Jeff Luc, an FSU commitment, excitedly telling his teammates the news after the press luncheon. I asked Luc to be sure I heard him right. “Yep,” he said, then he showed me the text message on his phone he’d just received from Elam. It said, “yeah, I committed today.” The Seminoles are in the midst of an awesome roll. . . . Elam took an official visit to Georgia earlier this year. . . .
  • Georgia Tech commitment Ryan Ayers of South Paulding takes a breather during what was a good second day for him at Under Armour practices. (Chip Towers)

    Georgia Tech commitment Ryan Ayers of South Paulding takes a breather during what was a good second day for him at Under Armour practices. (Chip Towers)

    I’d say that cornerback Ryan Ayers and tight end Brian Vogler are two Georgia kids that stood out today.

  • Ayers held his own going against truly one of the best groups of wide receivers in the country. In particular the Georgia Tech commitment, who is playing for the white team this week, made an awesome play on Georgia-bound receiver Da’Rick Rogers to break up a pass during seven-on-seven drills. “He’s going to Georgia and I’m going to Georgia Tech so I think it’s going to be a pretty good rivalry the next few years,” Ayers, who starred for South Paulding High, said at the luncheon afterward. “But it’s great going against the receivers they have down here. It’s an uphill battle when you’re playing against the greatest butI think playing with these dudes is just going to make me better.”
  • Vogler caught my eye more than once but especially during the full-team scrimmage for the black team when he hauled in a hard-thrown ball with his right and hand, pulled the ball into his body and turned up field before being knocked out of bounds.
  • Gainesville wide receiver Tai-ler Jones tried to practice on the left ankle he injured Wednesday but could not make it after two tries. He ended up leaving the facility and going to see one of the the Orlando Magic’s orthopedists, who diagnosed it as a lateral sprain. But Jones got more treatment Thursday and, with Friday scheduled as a walk-through day, said he’s going to try to play in the game Saturday.
  • It was pretty cool watching Atlantans Mack Brown and Storm Johnson alternating in the backfield for the black team. The only two running backs for the black team but never lined up together. Mack said the two friends aren’t worried about out-rushing each other. “We want to out-rush the other team and win the game,” he said.
  • Brown is clearly still bothered with his troublesome left hamstring and was often massaging it and stretching between plays. But he said there’s “no way” he’s going to let it keep him out of Saturday’s game. I’m working on a story on Mack and Storm that is going to run in tomorrow’s paper. . . .
  • Speaking of Brown and Florida, he told me a few days ago that he has been told that Florida coach Urban Meyer, who is taking an indefinitely leave of absence as the Gators’ head coach, plans to return before next season. . . .
  • Wide receiver Kadron Boone of Ocala, Fla., decommitted to Texas Tech Wednesday night, not long after being informed by reporters here that coach Mike Leach had been fired. . . .
  • Norcross defensive end Adrian Hubbard is creating some buzz here. The 6-foot-7 athlete did not play football as a junior and a lot of the national analysts are just noticing him. But he played well enough as a senior to earn a scholarship offer from No. 1-ranked Alabama and get invited here. He said Thursday he remains solid with the Crimson Tide. . . .
  • Pahokee, Fla., WR Chris Dunkley spent most of Thursday’s practice under the trainer’s tent due to a bothersome left hamstring pull. He told me he still plans to play.
  • Dunkley is among six prospects who are slated to make their college choices during Saturday’s nationally-televised broadcast on ESPN. He will choose between Florida, Alabama and Georgia. . . . Others to announce Saturday are: Fort Worth, Texas, WR Darius White (Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida, LSU);  Manning, S.C., cornerback John Fulton (Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, LSU); Missouri City, Texas, CB Toney Hurd Jr. (Oregon, California, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M); Orlando WR Kenny Shaw (FSU, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina); and Staten Island, N.Y., DT Dominique Easley (Penn State, Oregon, Miami).
  • It is 78 degrees here today and the players are starting to show signs of fatigue after two three-hour practices in the central Florida sun.

124 comments Add your comment

toph

December 31st, 2009
2:37 pm

Thanks for the updates Chip! You’re doing some great work my friend. Keep it up!

Ken Griffey Jr.

December 31st, 2009
2:45 pm

Well it’s 39 and overcast here. So take that!

Eat It St. Simons

December 31st, 2009
2:51 pm

((((30-24)))) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Really?

December 31st, 2009
2:55 pm

UF will have more recuits flip flop. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
2:57 pm

I just read all of Elam’s comments. He said his decision was first based on what happened to Meyer, but that he also feels he has a better chance to play earlier at FSU…which says a lot about the current depth chart at Florida. I also think his decommit will also help keep Demar Dorsey a Gator (who is now considering the Vols)…unless Lame Kiffin offers him a good looking lady for the weekend, some money, and a new car (just kidding Vols fans). For all you Gator haters out there that are going to jump on the “they all are going to jump ship bandwagon now,” Elam has been waving about his commitment to the Gators long before what last weekend for Meyer. This is just a good reason for him to leave now, which I think he was going to do on signing day anyway.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
3:03 pm

By the way, Gerald Christian, Elam’s teammate at Dwyer and very good friend, has reconfirmed his commitment to the Gators. He fills a much bigger need for the Gators at TE with Hernandez leaving. The WR/CB recruit from Dwyer is iffy at this point. The good is that Jaylen Watkins (CB), Christian (TE), Riggs (CB), and Joshua Shaw (CB) have all reconfirmed to the Gators. I am waiting to see what the DE/TE out of California does. He was going to commit to the Gators, but is waving a bit now and says he has opened up his recruitment again…and wants to talk to Meyer first after the bowl game. I would not be surprised to see Meyer has a sit down with Elam again, too. His parents love Meyer and are big Gator fans. I don’t think the Elam recruitment is over. It could be a signing day change back to the Gators. I hope so.

Mrs. Claytor

December 31st, 2009
3:04 pm

Forgets covering anybodies. Froms the looks of that GA team he better gets better at tacklin somes body fores theys gets 8-10 yeards ups da field (or worse cees Caleb King). Dat was UGLY.
Still waitng on the Tech freeloaders to fess ups and pays for days food days ate at my boys signing party.
Tell Ayers thats what he better gets better at covering..the tab after the Tech freeloaders eats alls his foods at his signing party.

Gator in the Hootch

December 31st, 2009
3:04 pm

Elam might be the Gators Greg Reid this year.

The (half) Truth

December 31st, 2009
3:07 pm

This just in…I’m decommiting on coming back in August. Subject to change in 24 hours,

toph

December 31st, 2009
3:15 pm

I read an article on another website about how after this Friday, it could be the end of the Gator dynasty with so many changes coming regarding recruits, players, staff etc. . . . .Should be very interesting.

Worm

December 31st, 2009
3:22 pm

John Fulton is a done deal to the Cocks!..Hate that

longDawg

December 31st, 2009
3:27 pm

Who the heck is john fulton

The (half) Truth

December 31st, 2009
3:32 pm

So which is it Tampa “a good reason for him to leave, which I think he was going to do anyway” or :i don;t think the Elam recrutment is over”
Please let me know so I can call him and tell him I checked myself into the hospital or the Paramedics carried me by ambulance to the hospital. While I;m at it I can have the University tell him it was dehydration or I can say it was chest pains.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
3:49 pm

Half truth…..both are true. Reading comprehension includes the ability to critically think. Might want to try it some day. It works. Elam has been wanting to back out for a long time due to the competition he would face at Florida. Obviously, he feels the competition at FSU will be much less. But I think the family connections will come into play before it is over….understand now??? If not, take a pill and check into the hospital.

Seminole Sam

December 31st, 2009
4:06 pm

TampaGator, the word is wavering, not waving.

GT fan...

December 31st, 2009
4:14 pm

Go read Da’rick Rogers’ comments (from yesterday), and then read Ryan Ayers’ again. Then see which player you’d rather have playing for your team.

Max Sizemore

December 31st, 2009
4:14 pm

This is no big news, since Elam is a highly regarded player, but I saw him on TV in the AAAA state championship game here in Florida, and he was tremendous. A sensational player.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
4:15 pm

Seminole Sam…duh!!! Ever heard of typing too fast. If I was overly concerned about typing errors, I would not be on the blog. I would instead be writing an essay on how the recent environmental changes have impacted on the world’s economy. I would prefer to blog without worring too much about typos, wouldn’t you?

Really?

December 31st, 2009
4:17 pm

GT fan… – agreed, Rogers for sure!

Da'Rick Rogers

December 31st, 2009
4:18 pm

No one on tha corna has tha swagga like us

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
4:21 pm

Sizemore…Elam is more than special. He is was an amazing player in HS, on both sides of the ball. I was actually more empressed with his running and catching skills than his defensive skills, however. But he is going to make a huge difference with FSU on either side of the ball, which is what he wants to do. At FSU, he will help build the program back up. At Florida, like he said, he would just be another part of the already championship type team. FSU will probably dominate the ACC in the coming years with Luc, Elam, Joyner, and Reid. At least now the FSU game will be competitive again. I have grown tired of watching the Gators blow out the Noles and the Dawgs in recent years. I prefer more competitive, interesting rival games, which neither of those two have been in recent years. Now, the Georgia and FSU games will be more competitive. At least they should be.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
4:24 pm

P.S….I take back what I wrote about Elam being a possible signing day change back to the Gators. He is going to enroll early, which means he is for sure a Nole. But Meyer still might talk to him and his family before then. But a kid should go where he feels most comfortable. And that appears to be FSU, not Florida. Like Reid, I think Elam just sees too much current talent at Florida and he wants to play right away. Good luck to him. The Gators will show their respects next year, as they did with Reid this year.

It's Really Dumb

December 31st, 2009
4:26 pm

Does anyone other than me think that Randy Shannon at Miami is a terrible game day coach. He just seems like he has no idea when he is on the sidelines. The man can recruit, but he can’t seem to coach them up. Sounds like another coach I know.

Dawg26

December 31st, 2009
4:46 pm

Gt Fan….

Yeah, you’re right… I’m so happy to have our 5 star wide receiver…. that was a beast and could not be stopped all year and had an amazing showing yesterday and today at the UA practices…. thank you for making me realize this! Man, I almost forgot we won 30-24 this year and the past 8 of 9…… that was a close one!

That Guy!

December 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

TampaGator – we all feel so bad for you!

Ray Lewis

December 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Randy Shannon looked real bad when Tech was in Miami earlier in the season.

That Guy!

December 31st, 2009
4:56 pm

TampaGator -your team is on a big time decline and it is obvious that you know it!

Hulk Hogan

December 31st, 2009
4:59 pm

It’s 70 degrees in Tampa and TampaGator is going back and forth on a blog on a Atlanta, GA newspaper’s website. Sad.

jbts30228

December 31st, 2009
5:04 pm

TampaGator I always enjoy your input on the blogs. You enjoy the game and the kids. Love your team and do so without the stupid comments about the rivals.

nemov

December 31st, 2009
5:12 pm

FSU is making real progress w/ the coaching change. The Gators have benefited from the demise of Miami and FSU. I think those days are coming to an end.

D.Ellis

December 31st, 2009
5:14 pm

That was a big time steal for the Noles. With Reid…Joyner…and now Elam that D-back field is going to be top notch in the country in 2 years…..barring any injury. Can’t forget Luc. Looks like the Noles are getting back to having that top notch D

UF isn’t on any kind of decline. Thing is when you are at the top…which they were, there is only one way to go, but their class is still top notch and will add a few more before it is said and done.

What the Noles and Jimbo are doing is big time. .

It's Really Dumb

December 31st, 2009
5:30 pm

Hulk…my vacation home is in Tampa. I am in Tampa now. I spend the entire last two days outside at the beach….went to the Outback Bowl beach party on Clearwater beach yesterday. I am a little “burned” out to be out again today. I am actually trying to write a mystery novel…and that is what I am doing today…working on the computer. I take breaks once in a while to blog. Nothing sad about that. What is sad is I have to be back in Atlanta and back to work on Monday. Now that is sad!

Second-tier Dawg

December 31st, 2009
5:30 pm

Alright Elam that’s fine go to FSU, like one Gator recruit said “If you are not a Gator you are gatorbait.” You will find that out soon enough.

It's Really Dumb

December 31st, 2009
5:34 pm

Ray….You look at the recruiting classes Randy Shannon has had recently and the talent that is on that roster….and then look at the team’s W/L record this year…and you have to wonder about his coaching skills. Also, they looked horrible in Orlando and made the ACC look really bad. Wisconsin totally shut them down, and the Badgers are not that good this year. But the man can really recruit. He sort of reminds me of Ron Zook…great recruiter and a good man…lousy game day coach…That is all I am saying….

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
5:36 pm

Sorry, I replied to Hulk as “Really Dumb” and didn’t change back when I posted a response to Ray concerning my comments about Shannon earlier. So Ray, Really Dumb, IS TampaGator in this case.

TampaGator

December 31st, 2009
5:44 pm

Hulk…I meant to put “TampaGator” in my post back to you as “Really Dumb.” But it IS really dumb to make personal comments about someone’s life unless you know that person….in my case, there is nothing sad about my life…other than I have two more years of work before I am going to retire to the beach with the wife and complete my book….by the way….it’s called “Holiday Nights.” If it ever gets published under that working title, then you will know who TampaGator was.

BG

December 31st, 2009
6:03 pm

UF is going to lose a ton of recruits!!!!

ToeMeetsLeather

December 31st, 2009
6:09 pm

Yea, Da’Rick sounds like a perfect fit to work(ha) toward a meaningless Housing degree from UGA, learning how to organize the garage and how to change the hoses on the washing machine, important stuff like that. Good luck Da’Rick.

WTH

December 31st, 2009
6:16 pm

Watch out Chip, you are going to be accused of being biased aginst UGA if you say something positive about a GT recruit especially when you give him credit for making a good play on a UGA recruit. Buck might kick you off his show next fall.

WTH

December 31st, 2009
6:18 pm

Dawg26,

that is the only thing that matters how many stars they have.

CBB1

December 31st, 2009
6:24 pm

Hey ToeMeetsLeater,
When Da’Rick is done playing at UGA and if he doesn’t make the pros, I am sure Reggie Ball and Joe Hamilton can give him some pointers on how to change the hoses on the washing machine. They have a head start on him. Yeah, those two guys are Rhodes Scholars. Did they even graduate from GA Tech? Nope!!

John

December 31st, 2009
6:25 pm

I love how gator fans come up with excuses when they lose a recruit. He is scared of the competition, He’s not that good anyway, we did not want him, good luck losing to us for the next four years, we have better recruits just waiting to take his spot. The truth is that UF is on the decline. You may or may not have a head coach, you have an Interim Head coach/OC, you have no DC, No WR coach, two more coaches on the way out, DB and carter gone after the bowl game. You will lose a lot of seniors and juniors at key positions. Meyer knew this was going to be a bad year for UF and he did not want his name associated with it.

icedawg

December 31st, 2009
6:46 pm

In four years most of these names will have been forgotten. Much ado about nothing.

Buckhead Bulldog

December 31st, 2009
7:29 pm

TampaGator: You may wear blue and orange, but I really look forward to reading the insight you have on some of these recruits. Pretty level headed fan!

Go Dogs!

FLMoonpie

December 31st, 2009
8:49 pm

Yeah that’s right Dawgies, the Gators are in decline. We probably won’t win next years game by no more than 3 tds.

recruiting means nothing

December 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

the teams that win are those that have the hungriest players. 5-star recruits who are reading their own press often fail miserably

Moonpie

December 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

that is the post of the week!

CharlestonDawg

December 31st, 2009
9:34 pm

TampaGator, You have too much time on your hands.

Courtney

December 31st, 2009
9:56 pm

TampGator – If the UF plane blew up with the whole team on it you would still argue how it is good for the Gators. You are too funny.

Your best recruit just left you for your instate rival and you think that is good news?? You are typical Florida MORON.

Tommy Deer

December 31st, 2009
9:57 pm

Hulk Hogan and Tampa Gator are GAY!!